Lea 50 – That Foxy Rae 

11 Mar

So, I thought long and hard about what doll I could post about for my 50th Lea post – I wanted it to be special (ALL Leas are special, but you know, extra specially special). So I decided on my first custom Lea, rerooted and repainted by the wonderful That Foxy Bisssh, otherwise known as Constantinos Kalaitzis (find him on Instagram: @thatfoxybisssh). I’ve followed his work and admired his repaints for a long time, so I was so pleased when he set up an Etsy shop (here) and I knew it would just be a matter of time before I made a purchase. 

Actually, it was Mr Bat who made the purchase. Rae was one of my Christmas presents this year (he might have been gently nudged in the right direction though). Today, I rebodied her onto a Made To Move Lea and I think she looks just right. Here she is: 

I’ve done a few (mostly dodgy) repaints myself, but I never bought anybody else’s repainted dolls before. For starters, they are usually beyond my budget. For seconds, I love to look at detailed, photo-realistic repaints but I’m not usually interested in buying them, because it’s hard to mix them in with Mattel-painted dolls and have them look right. I kind of like my Barbies to look like Barbies, you know? For me, Con’s customs get the balance just right – his repaints are stylised and can sit on the shelf next to Mattel dolls without looking odd, but they are beautiful and original with a distinctive style of their own. 

I love her hair, too, which kind of feels like embroidery thread. I particularly like how easy it is to style her in all kinds of crazy fun ways: 

I’m so glad that we snapped her up when we did, she photographs like a dream and I’m impressed with the quality of this repaint. So impressed, in fact, that I’ve just ordered another Foxy Lady. I highly recommend having a look around Con’s shop, his prices are reasonable and he has some great dolls in stock. 

Barbie turns 58

9 Mar

Today is Barbie’s 58th birthday! So the doll I picked to debox today is my 2015 reproduction of Barbie #1 from 1959. 

I was so excited when this doll was released! I already had a 1993 reproduction (made for Barbie’s 35th birthday) but let’s face it, although she’s lovely in her own right she’s not very accurate. I’m going to make some comparisons in this post, but please note – number ones are very rare in the U.K. and importation is beyond my means, so I’ve never got my hands on one (yet) and therefore don’t have a lot to say about how they compare to the original, other than what I can glean from photos. 

Here is the lady in question, on her own in the first pic and then with ’93. There are some obvious differences: 

* ’15 has the adorable curly fringe that was sported by the original #1. This was not featured on the ’93, although I don’t understand why they would omit such a distinctive element of her look. I really wanted a curly-fringed Barbie so I’m so glad they did this! 15’s hair colour is a more authentic canary yellow too, instead of the dark blonde of ’93. I did look at the “My Favourite Barbie” set from 2009, which included a curly-fringed doll, but it was very expensive on the reseller market so I never got around to it. Considering how reasonably priced ’15 was, I’m really glad I didn’t splash out on that set now. 

* 15’s head is smaller than 93’s and sits higher on the neck. This gives 15 a more suitably haughty posture, as she is literally looking down her nose at you. I like it. ’93 always looks like she’s looking slightly downwards and as neither of these dolls have up-and-down head movement, only side-to-side, there’s nothing to be done about it. 

* In terms of face paint, 15 has cyan blue eyeliner instead of 93’s dark blue, which really makes her eyes pop. I don’t think either of these eye makeup looks are authentic as I believe that ’59 had softer blue eyeshadow (please do correct me if I’m wrong, though). ’15 also has blue eyes instead of ’93’s white eyes, and fuller, redder lips. I like both faces, but ’15 is definitely the more glamorous of the two.

* The famous black-and-white swimsuit and the shoes are the same on both models. The material of both suits even feels identical. This photo shoot made me realise that ’93’s outfit is looking a bit grubby though! I presume I got her like this, as she’s lived in her box for as long as I’ve owned her. One welcome difference between the two – ’15’s was held in place at the bust with double-sided sticky tape, as was ’93’s, but in the inside of ’15’s swimsuit has a rubber strip sewn into it, to ensure that it will stay in place without slipping down when she has been undressed and redressed. 

* The sunglasses are quite interesting: 

On the left, you can see ’93’s sunglasses. They are fixed into position with the arms straight out, ready to be worn. The lenses are painted blue and therefore opaque. On the other side are ’15’s sunglasses, which actually feature little hinges so that the arms can be folded, and the lenses are tinted rather than painted, so Barbie can “look” through them. 

Well, that’s it. Isn’t it amazing that she’s still around after 58 years? And that there’s still a market for her original incarnation? Here’s some more photos, including (just because I felt like it) both dolls re-dressed in recent playline clothes. 

Monster High – Lorna McNessie

7 Mar

OK, so I haven’t been deboxing EVERY day as I promised myself I would this year. However, Lorna, Daughter of the Loch Ness Monster, is the last doll I deboxed and I’ve spent my free time over the last few days doing this: 

1). Curling her hair. She came out of the box with a dreadful bird’s nest. SO bad. I immediately made it much worse by pulling out her half ponytail because it annoyed me.

Unfortunately, I put my curlers somewhere really safe a while ago, so that’s the end of them. However, I felt strongly that she should have curly hair so I made some curlers out of tin foil (I’ve never seen anybody else do this but I bet they have, it’s similar to the way my Mother’s generation used rags to make ringlets I think). Basically, you cut a long thin strip of tinfoil (say, 7cm by 15cm or something like that). Half of it gets crunkled up to make the curling “stick” around which you wind the hair to form the ringlet, and then you use the other half to crunkle around the outside of the curl to keep it in place while you boil wash. It worked, anyway. 

2). Made her a dress. Her box outfit, which you can see in the top picture, is nice enough (apart from her hat, which is tiny and useless once you’ve taken out the plastic tags that hold it to her head). I just felt like it. 

I actually had the pieces already cut in my sewing bag for this one, so all I had to do was assemble it and add the trimmings. It came out OK, I think – I’m kicking myself for not trimming the collar, I might have to go back and do that. But I love this mustardy colour on her. I think she’d also look good in brown or dark blue.

She is a lovely little thing, and much improved by her hair do-over I think. I particularly like her tail, which is not detachable, unlike most other monsters. This is good – tails that fall off are a pet hate of mine. Her matching leg fins are lovely too and I understand they need to be detachable so that she can be dressed and undressed, but like Lagoona’s leg fins, which are the bane of my life, they are pretty loose and I know they’ll go missing one day. Sigh. 

Fake Bake Barbie 

28 Feb

OK, she’s actually called “Double Denim”, but I dare you to look at her without recalling that time in the mid noughties when everybody was obsessed with orange fake tan. I know that Mattel are rather proud of the diversity of skin types to be found in the modern Barbie ranges (as they should be) but I think this might be one that they prefer to forget … 

Only joking, I actually adore this doll, orangeness and all. It’s not like me to fall for a tanned, white-blonde, generic-faced doll but I have. I love her, and so she gets a post to herself. 

Things I like: 

* If you ask me, the modern Fashionista line hasn’t always got colour schemes right (I still haven’t forgiven them for Chambray Chic’s dress). But I love the cool, pale colour palette of Double Denim, finished off with those black skyscraper stilettos that give the outfit a modern feel.  

* New face sculpt!! This sculpt (currently described by sculpt guru Katti as “closed mouth Millie”, although she does point out that an official name hasn’t been released yet) has been made famous by its use on Mattel’s Instagram account, @barbiestyle. Millie looks GREAT with a half-smile, and I can’t wait to see further releases – could she be the modern Mackie, perhaps? She shares this sculpt with the very lovely (and less orange) Made to Move Martial Artist, who I am really looking forward to now. 

* Her Khaleesi hair and brows. Thick dark brows with silver-blonde hair is a good look, and it gives her an interesting twist that lifts her above the generic. Also, I might be imagining it but when I looked at her in the sunlight today it seemed as though her hair might be comprised of two colours of nylon, silver and light blonde, which is a nice touch.

Things I’m not so keen on: 

* I know I say it every time, but Mattel need to GIVE US PIVOTAL FASHIONISTAS AGAIN. It annoys me that these dolls could be pretty much perfect, if only you could pose them better. 

* Her rooting is really thin and you can see the holes in her scalp through her hair unless its fluffed up, as if she was an old, played-with doll. That’s not great, is it? 

* Her eyes. I can deal with “cartoony” but the blue-eyed Fashionistas are super-cartoony – it’s too much, I think. Also, I like dolls with big eyes as a rule but these are a bit too big, she’d look better if they were more realistically scaled.

Adventures in Rebodying – Lily Truscott

17 Feb

Recently, having obtained the sealant of my dreams, I have started to think about repainting the early faceups I made such a terrible mess of. I got as far as searching for them in my “needs work” drawer before I was distracted by Lily Truscott, who I found in a charity shop a year or so ago. Lily is a character from Hannah Montana, and is noteworthy for her use of the Diva face sculpt with a painted-on open mouth. She also has beautiful colouring – blue eyes and beachy-blonde hair. Unlike many Hannah Montana/ High School Musical dolls, she’s not particularly easy to find, either, so I was glad to have her. 

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of HSM style bodies, which are kind of like the late 80s/ early 90s Skipper bodies only taller and very slightly more mature. In this case, though, it was a done deal that I would have to rebody her because her poor little hands had been chewed completely flat. As she has a mature-ish face anyway, I decided to try her on a LIV body and I wasn’t disappointed (although the Skipper I’d been saving it for probably wasn’t very impressed).

I think it’s a good size for her and a good colour match, the downside being that I would have to deal with those big clumsy LIV hands. I gave them some nail varnish and rings to try and make them more acceptable, but the jury’s still out on whether that helped very much: 

Maybe a bit. Anyhoo, as you can see, I dressed her in some Barbie Petite clothes which are a good fit on these bodies. I do have some really nice LIV clothes somewhere – maybe I’ll use those when I photograph The Petites … I also dug out one of my previously featured Leas, Camp Rock Tess, because I did the same body switch (HSM to LIV) with her, and I thought they’d be like two petite peas in a pod. 

Ghost of Christmas Presents 2016 – Frankie and Rochelle Vinyls 

2 Feb

Mr Bat sometimes takes it upon himself to buy me presents that he hasn’t asked me about, like these vinyl figures. I also have three others but getting to them is currently a problem, because in times of home improvement the doll room gets used as a storage area and currently we’re in full-on home improvement mode. Never mind, I’ll get to them another time (probably).

I never paid much attention to the vinyls before but actually, I really like them. I drafted in the help of a “real” Rochelle and Frankie (School’s Out, as I don’t have a first-wave Frankie for some crazy reason) for the photos:

Lea 49 – Best Models On Location: Monte Carlo 

22 Jan

I probably should have saved this Lea for the next Lea post (my 50th!). Every Lea is special,as far as I am concerned, but Monte Carlo is especially special – she’s rare, classy, collector-level, sought-after and beautiful. Getting hold of her had been on my to-do list for years when I stumbled across her for a good price, out of the box but mint and with all her outfits and accessories.

Isn’t she gorgeous? I have thought long and hard about rebodying her, as I always seem to get more use out of my rebodied dolls. I decided against it in the end for two reasons. Firstly, her hands have nails with a french manicure: 

Which is a really nice touch. Second, if I rebodied her most of her clothes wouldn’t fit any more, and the clothes are really what this doll is all about. 

This Lea, released in 2006, is designed to showcase a series of outfits and accessories which suit the “Monte Carlo” theme, and they really are beautiful. In fact, this has been a reminder for me about just how good doll clothes can be. I spend much of my time on playline and I don’t collect vintage so it’s easy for me to forget how different quality items are, as I don’t see many of them. The attention to detail and the realism are wonderful. 

There’s just a wealth of stuff that comes with her. Three bags!! Plus two pairs of shoes, a pair of stockings, a necklace, a scarf, a belt, and a compact and a swimsuit. Added to these are the two main outfits – I enlisted Fan Bingbing to help model them:

The only downside to this set is the time and effort it takes to get a doll into any of these clothes. Playline may be cheap and cheerful, but at least it’s made with small, impatient hands (even smaller and more impatient than mine) in mind – these clothes are more like a logic puzzle, or maybe an endurance test. Still, both in terms of the clothes and in terms of the long-antipicated purchase, this time around it certainly seems to be a case of “good things to those who wait”. She was worth it.